Saturday, June 15, 2024

Photo released of sandbar blocking orphaned orca calf from escaping lagoon near Zeballos


It’s been 17 days since a Bigg’s killer whale was beached and drowned in a lagoon near Zeballos while teaching her calf to hunt. 

Ever since March 23rd, when her mother died, kʷiisaḥiʔis (Kwee-sa-hay-is), or Brave Little Hunter, has remained in the lagoon despite efforts made by the Ehattesaht and Nuchalaht First Nations and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

In the latest update from the DFO, they provided photos of kʷiisaḥiʔis and of the sandbar which is blocking her from escaping the lagoon which has held her from being reunited with her pod for over two weeks. 


It was also revealed that due to the low salinity of the freshwater in the lagoon, the whale calf’s skin on her dorsal side has whitened. 

According to veterinary experts, this is not something to be concerned about in the long term. 

The DFO says that currently, the calf is looking healthy and hasn’t shown any visible signs of severe thinning or malnourishment. 

This is in part due to the efforts of the involved First Nations providing seal meat for kʷiisaḥiʔis to feed on. 

“The animal’s behaviour and activity has remained constant and she is not showing any emaciation at this time,” the DFO said in a statement. 

“We are continuing with rescue planning and logistics with the Ehattesaht First Nation, animal care experts, and the rescue team.” 

They once again reiterated that this is a very remote location, and the tides and weather are often challenging to overcome

The DFO says that they have been continuously tracking the calf’s matriline, or family pod, who were spotted and identified nearby early last week. 

Below is a photo of the sandbar where kʷiisaḥiʔis’ mother was beached and died and that contains her in the lagoon currently:

Curtis Blandy

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